How Do You Rescue a Bad Cat Photo?

As many readers know I am a big fan of my local cat cafe. Neko Ngeru is a small business and deserves the support of cat-loving visitors in Petone, New Zealand.

I am always thrilled to share my photographs with the cafe. I am expanding my photographic skills and the cafe uses my best work.

Sometimes though, I have pictures that are sort of meh, maybe even borderline good that would be great for a future blog post. I know you might find yourself in a similar situation, you don’t want to let that photo go so I asked my self ‘how do you rescue a bad cat photo’?

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What makes a bad photo anyway

There are bad photos that can be rescued and then there are the ‘others’. The ones you know, deep down, just did not work and that you need to delete.

What is the difference is between a potential winner and an ‘Ugh, that’s terrible’?

  • A lack of focus can’t be fixed – too blurry.
  • and extreme exposure – too light and too dark. The exception is if you take pictures using RAW. Then you have more options.

As you learn more about your camera settings for cat photography you will become better at achieving sharp focus and allowing your camera to take over some of the hard work by using a mode like ‘close-up’ or ‘sport’.

What Can I do to Improve a Bad Picture?

You can remove red eye

There are times when I get ‘pet eye’ or red eye as it appears in humans. That zombie like stare that looks terrible and totally creeps people out.

You can remove this by using one of the many software packages on the market. Photoshop Elements (PSE), GIMP, and Affinity are packages I have successfully used. None of the software packages is hard to use and YouTube has friendly tutorials to help you fix a pet’s glowing eyes.

Full sized cat picture with fault
Pan – the basic image with overexposed corner

Crop to Remove Part of Your Image

This is one of the best cat photography ideas and it’s something I often forget about!

If there is a lot of empty space, or the picture element is too far over to one side, you can crop. This is especially useful if your photography will be shown in square format on Instagram.

You can use a ‘Mask’ in Affinity or PSE

This image of Pan from the cat cafe has a lot going for it. Clear fur, calm expression and nicely defined fur. But, there is an over-bright corner to the image, sunshine, which is very distracting. This is the sample I use for my makevers.

One option will be to use a mask that will dim the over bright corner of the image. I am currently investigating masks for a future post. They have the potential beyond this photo rescue blog post and I am still learning how they work!

Image masking is a process of graphics software like Photoshop and Affinity to hide some portions of an image and to reveal others. It is a non-destructive process of image editing. Most of the time it enables you to adjust and tweak the mask later if necessary.

Image Masking

Disguise a Photo Fail with a Filter

I am a big fan of filters. Partly because you can have a lot of fun and partly because they can transform a failure into a triumph.

I subscribe to Photo Lab (a modest annual fee) but there are plenty of free, or trial versions. I discovered that there are several where you can edit online, then save and share.

Pan with Heart Bokeh Filter (Photo Lab)
Pan with’ Heart Bokeh Frame Filter’ from Photo Lab
  • PiZap Online editing or an app for iPhone or Android
  • Edit online with UpperPix new kid on the block and versatile.
  • Lunapic popular with bloggers and an effective filter tool
  • Photoshop Elements – a little sister program that avoids Photoshops monthly subscription.
  • Affinity Photo – for Mac and most importantly for iPad

These two photographs disguise the error by drawing attention elsewhere.

The Photo Lab Heart Bokeh filter (above) has a touch of romantic sweetness to it while the Sketch filter below has a more dramatic effect. The filter has the added bonus of adding definition to the tones of fur colour.

Both filters highlight Pan’s beautiful eyes and draw your attention to them, with or without colour. The mistake in the corner no longer exists and don’t forget you can also crop your image then add a filter as well.

Make an impact on Instagram with filters!

'Sketch' Filter of Pan the Black Cat - Photo Lab Cat Photography HD
‘Sketch’ Filter of Pan the Black Cat – Photo Lab

Add Text or a Watermark

My final cat photography idea to disguise a photo mistake is to put something relevant on top of the area you want to hide.

You have two quick to use options,

  • Use a block of colour then add text or your watermark,
  • or, boldly splash your watermark across to cover a mistake.
Cat image with block of text disguising a mistake

You Can Rescue a Bad Photo

You just need to analyse which quick and simple method will work best so you can show off your image on social media, or add to a blog post.

Don’t give up without trying a few of these options. I bet you have just the picture to experiment with somewhere in your photo library.

13 thoughts on “How Do You Rescue a Bad Cat Photo?”

  1. I love the filters that you chose for Pan! He is such a handsome mancat. The sketch filter really focuses in on those gorgeous eyes. Great ideas!

  2. That sketch filter is really cool. I always forget editing photos is a thing. I like to point shoot and post. But since Plush is a faceless furball without lighting adjust I’m learning. Definitely going to try that sketch filter and turn him into a work of art.

  3. Thanks for the great tips. I often crop photos and have rarely used red-eye reduction or sometimes use a filter to get things brighter, but these were just in Microsoft or Adobe photoshop. I’ll have to try some of your other tips.

  4. These little fixes are great for a novice like myself. I’m still a work in progress with photos. Sometimes lighting is perfect but most times it’s awfully dark. My favorite tip you mentioned was using IG filters to fix mistakes. Very clever! Thanks.

  5. I use Pizap to try salvage some of my lousy photos but most of the time I delete them but have come to the conclusion and learning from you I have a lousy camera LOL and need to get a new one one of these days.


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